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  1. #41
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    Study finds that men who attack women are literally losers

    Video games always seem to have a rough time of it in the media. From the unsubstantiated scare stories that they promote violence or concentration issues in young people, to the dismissal that they are 'just for kids' - it's not been an easy path for the industry.

    Fortunately, there are some cracking examples of superb video games fighting the good fight for the medium. Whether it's the interactive storytelling of Undertale, the impossible simplistic beauty of Monument Valley or the excellent writing of Portal - there are some real winners to drown out the dull repetitive brown World War II shooters.

    Now it appears that video games are proving their worth in other areas too, specifically highlighting and examining sexism between men and women.

    A new study published in by PLOS One, claims to have found evidence that men who attack women online are actually, literally losers.

    Insights into Sexism, authored by Michael Kasumovic and Jeffrey Kuznekoff, examined interactions between gamers during 163 plays of the Xbox 360 game Halo 3.

    The sci-fi first person shooter was played in a multiplayer competitive mode - with teams cooperating in order to kill members of the opposing team outside of the main story line. During the study's play through, Kuznekoff and Kasumovic examined how individuals behaved towards a male or female-voiced teammate in both the positive scenarios (the number of kills they managed to wrack-up) and negative scenarios (the number of deaths they experienced), as well as player status (the maximum skill achieved).

    According to the study, the men who were worse players tended to level more abuse at female gamers, while guys who were more skilled at the game were generally more pleasant to both female and other male players.

    The research states:

    As higher-skilled players have less to fear from hierarchical reorganisation, we argue that these males behave more positively in an attempt to support and garner a female player’s attention. Our results provide the clearest picture of inter-sexual competition to date, highlighting the importance of considering an evolutionary perspective when exploring the factors that affect male hostility towards women.

    The pair argue that their findings support an "evolutionary argument" that low-status, low-performing males have the most to lose, and as a consequence lash out more at women who threaten their position in the hierarchy.

    The study goes on to reason:

    As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank. This idea is reinforced by the fact that higher-skilled males that should not feel threatened by a female increased their number of positive comments.

    Despite using video games to highlight issues of sexism in every day life, the research warns that in some scenarios the platform might be helping perpetuate sexism in young people.

    It concludes:

    The idea that videogames may be reinforcing such gender segregation as the norm for many teenagers is troubling given the fact that a significant proportion of them are gamers. Such ideas have the potential to spill over in real-life interactions and promote socially unacceptable behaviours such as sexism.

    HT Time


  2. #42
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    Islamophobia holding back UK Muslims in workplace, study finds

    One in five Muslim adults in full-time work compared with 35% of overall population, Social Mobility Commission says
    Muslim men and women are being held back in the workplace by widespread Islamophobia, racism and discrimination, according to a study which finds that Muslim adults are far less likely to be in full-time work.

    Research for the government’s social mobility watchdog, shared exclusively with the Guardian, found a strong work ethic and high resilience among Muslims that resulted in impressive results in education.

    However, that was not translated into the workplace, with only 6% of Muslims breaking through into professional jobs, compared with 10% of the overall population in England and Wales.

    The study found 19.8% of Muslims aged 16-to-74 were in full-time employment, compared with 34.9% of the overall population.

    The research also found evidence of women being encouraged by their communities to focus on marriage and motherhood rather than gaining employment. Overall, 18% of Muslim women aged 16 to 74 were recorded as “looking after home and family”, compared with 6% of the overall female population.

    Academics cited a number of barriers to success, including:

    Students face stereotyping and low expectations from teachers and a lack of Muslim staff or other role models in the classroom.
    Minority ethnic-sounding names reduce the likelihood of people being offered an interview.
    Young Muslims routinely fear becoming targets of bullying and harassment and feel forced to work “10 times as hard” as their white counterparts to get on.
    Women wearing headscarfs face particular discrimination once entering the workplace.

    Alan Milburn, the former cabinet minister who now heads the government-sponsored Social Mobility Commission, said the research painted a disturbing picture.

    “The British social mobility promise is that hard work will be rewarded. Unfortunately, for many young Muslims in Britain today this promise is being broken,” he said.

    Calling for action by the government, communities, educators and employers, Milburn said: “Young Muslims themselves identify cultural barriers in their communities and discrimination in the education system and labour market as some of the principal obstacles that stand in their way. Young Muslim women face a specific challenge to maintain their identity while seeking to succeed in modern Britain.”

    Prof Jacqueline Stevenson, of Sheffield Hallam University, which led the research, said: “Muslims are being excluded, discriminated against or failed at all stages of their transition from education to employment. Taken together, these contributory factors have profound implications for social mobility.”

    Stevenson told the Guardian that the research highlighted routine examples of Muslim men and women failing to secure jobs that were commensurate with their skills and qualifications.

    The research involved a series of in-depth focus groups across the country through which young Muslims shared their experiences. One woman in Liverpool said her father had suggested “changing her name to help get a job.

    A female respondent in High Wycombe referred to hearing comments such as “he looked very Muslim” or “look at her, she’s got a scarf on”. Another said they felt that when white children went to school they might fear getting bullied but the thought would occur to all ethnic-minority children.

    Farhana Ghaffar, a 25-year-old Muslim woman who acted as a researcher for the study, said she was “incredibly shocked” by the findings. “It ranged from assumptions that they were forced to wear the headscarf to jokes and casual comments in workplace about Muslims. Or every time there was a terror attack there was a feeling of a need to apologise and explain,” she said.

    Ghaffar talked of difficulties within the workplace, including a culture of drinking alcohol that Muslims were unable to participate in.

    Raised in London by parents who were economic migrants from Pakistan, Ghaffar said she had been strongly supported by her teachers and then at university, but the research often painted a different picture.

    The research aimed to build on a previous report by the commission that found children of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin outperformed other ethnic groups in education but were much less likely to enter managerial or professional jobs. This study aimed to explain what was causing the trend through more in-depth focus groups and statistical analysis.

    Another government-backed report, by Dame Louise Casey, previously raised the alarm over a lack of social integration in the UK.


  3. #43
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    This study shows how the media fuels support for anti-Muslim discrimination — and even war


    Since the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, news stories with negative portrayals of Muslims have dominated the media. This negative coverage is made more problematic when right-wing news channels fail to explicitly distinguish between radical Islam and the interpretation of Islam that is accepted by the overwhelming majority of Muslims, who do not support terror. In fact—maybe unsurprisingly—at least one empirical study has shown that Fox News watchers are significantly more likely to have negative views of Muslims.

    At the same time, anti-Muslim sentiment appears to be increasing across America. At Donald Trump rallies, we have seen overt hostility towards Muslim attendees. Most of us needn’t look further than our social media newsfeeds to see evidence of a growing animosity towards people of Islamic faith, especially amongst more conservative friends or unstable, mildly racist uncles. In accordance with these observations, a new study has found that short-term exposure to news that portrays Muslims in a negative way actually causes viewers to support policies that harm Muslims internationally and domestically.

    The study’s clever design broke participants into three groups, where each group was shown a 2-3 minute news clip from YouTube that portrayed Muslims in different ways. The news clip featured either a negative story, a neutral story, or a positive story about Muslims. The negative story involved an attempted terror attack on Fort Dix, in which six Muslim males were captured after their plot to kill as many American soldiers as possible was discovered and thwarted. The neutral news story discussed how a football practice schedule was changed due to Ramadan, a holy month in which Muslims fast during daylight. The positive news clip featured an Islamic leader urging the Muslim community to come together to help non-Muslim citizens during Christmas. After the news clip was presented, each group was given surveys that assessed their support for military action against Muslim countries, as well as their support for civil restrictions against Muslim Americans.

    What the study found was that the participants who viewed the negative news clip perceived Muslims as more aggressive, and as a result were more supportive of attacks on Muslim nations. With this in mind, it is easy to see why Republican presidential candidates like Ted Cruz, who has suggested that we “carpet bomb” areas of the Middle East—which would undoubtedly kill a significant number of civilians—are receiving widespread support from viewers of right-wing news outlets.

    Additionally, and perhaps more disturbingly, those who watched the negative news clip were in favor of restricting the civil rights of Muslim Americans, which once again can help explain the changes in popularity of certain Republican presidential candidates. For example, when Donald Trump stated that if elected president he would ban all Muslims from entering the country, he received a dramatic rise in the polls. Similarly, neurosurgeon Ben Carson saw his only significant boost in the polls immediately after he stated that he believed no Muslim should ever be elected president. This recent study is significant because it provides convincing evidence that the negative news stories that are commonly broadcast by the media have real and harmful effects on Muslims at home and abroad, and that politicians are actively exploiting the fears they promote.

    However, this study also yielded findings that are more optimistic. The group of people that viewed the positive news clip about Muslims were significantly less likely to be in favor of military action against Muslim nations, and less willing to restrict American Muslims’ rights.

    So how can we use this information to improve the situation? For a starter, the media could make a conscious effort to bring some balance to news stories involving Muslims. Although it is an undeniable fact that radical Islam is igniting terrorism around the world at an alarming right, the authors of the study suggest that journalists could also run segments where they speak to Muslim Americans about their opposition to terrorist attacks. Additionally, the media could seek out positive stories regarding Muslims in America. For example, a Muslim organization called “Who Is Hussain?” donated 30,000 bottles of water to the Red Cross in Flint, Michigan in an effort to alleviate the terrible water contamination crisis that the city is currently undergoing. Unfortunately, media coverage of this type is rare because violent stories that elicit fear are simply better for ratings.

    Some may claim that intentionally seeking out positive stories about Muslims in order to balance out the negative ones would be distorting the reality of the situation. However, given the fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims, especially Muslim Americans, are peaceful and opposed to ISIS, such an effort would actually lead to reporting that is more representative of the real world.

    Some public figures and commentators who are otherwise liberal in their views, like Bill Maher and Sam Harris, believe that we must be able to openly and harshly criticize Islam, as it is their opinion that the religion is a fundamentally violent and destructive ideology. Whether or not that is true, Maher and Harris need to be practical about the reality of the situation, and realize that focusing only on the negative aspects of Islam can and will lead to public support for policies that harm innocent Muslims—moderates who vehemently oppose the ideology of groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. So in our quest for truth we must be honest and critical of ideas, but also mindful of the potentially dangerous effects of our language. Achieving the appropriate nuance may not be an easy task, but it is something we should strive for. Additionally, balanced reporting will also help protect against the rise of politicians and presidential candidates who exploit voters’ fears purely as a strategy to win elections.


  4. #44
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    Over-cooked potatoes and burnt toast could cause cancer, new research suggests

    Food Standards Agency (FSA) issues public warning over risks of acrylamide, a chemical compound found in starchy foods cooked at high temperatures

    By Jane Kirby - 23 January 2017

    Roasting and frying starchy foods could increase the risk of cancer, a Government body has said.

    The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a public warning over the risks of acrylamide - a chemical compound that forms in some foods when they are cooked at high temperatures (above 120C).

    A new campaign tells people how they can cut their risk, including opting for a gold color - rather than darker brown - when frying, roasting, baking, grilling or toasting.

    Acrylamide is found in high levels in a range of foods including breakfast cereals (not porridge), chips, potato products (such as waffles or children's potato shapes), biscuits, crackers, crispbread and crisps.

    It is also found in coffee, cooked pizza bases, black olives and cereal-based baby foods.

    Root vegetables including potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroot, turnip, swede and parsnips can all carry high levels of the compound once they have been roasted or fried until darker brown or crispy. As well as high temperatures, long cooking times can increase levels of acrylamide even further.

    Foods such as skinny fries and crisps appear to have the highest levels.

    Acrylamide forms due to a chemical reaction between certain sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) in the food.

    However, boiling, steaming and microwaving appear far less likely to cause the reaction.

    Studies in mice have shown that high levels of acrylamide can cause neurological damage and cancer.

    While studies in humans have proved inconclusive, experts believe the compound has the ability to cause cancer in humans.

    The US Environmental Protection Agency has said acrylamide is "likely to be carcinogenic to humans" and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organisation, says it is a "probable human carcinogen".

    In its new campaign, the FSA said people could take simple steps to reduce their consumption of acrylamide.

    As a "rule of thumb", people should aim for a golden yellow color or lighter when frying, roasting, baking or toasting starchy foods.

    For example, roast potatoes should not be "fluffed up" to maximise dark brown crispy bits and they should be roasted to the lightest color that is acceptable. Toast should also be browned to a light brown color.

    People are being told to follow the cooking instructions on packaging to ensure foods are not cooked for too long or at too-high temperatures.

    They should also stick to a varied, balanced diet to reduce their overall risk of cancer.

    The FSA said people should not keep potatoes in the fridge, which can increase overall levels of acrylamide. Instead, raw potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool place with temperatures above 6C.

    Evidence also shows the longer potatoes are kept, the more acrylamide can form.

    Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA, said manufacturers had already taken steps to cut the levels of acrylamide in foods, but it was time for consumers to be made more aware of the risks. He said studies showed babies, children and adults in the UK consumed too much acrylamide from food.

    He added: "We are not saying people should worry about the occasional meal... this is about managing risk over a lifetime.

    "Anything you can do to reduce your exposure will reduce your lifetime risk.

    "People might, for example, think 'I like my roast potatoes crispy', but they will just decide to have them less often."

    Other examples of ways to cut acrylamide include having chunky chips on occasion rather than fries.

    Cutting potatoes into larger wedges reduces their surface area, thereby cutting down the level of acrylamide that can form. Crinkle-cut chips are worse than normal chips as they have a larger surface area.

    Gavin Shears, a senior policy adviser in contaminants at the FSA, said: "We are not expecting people to go out and radically change their diets if they're eating a healthy balanced diet.

    "If you slightly overdo your roast potatoes on a Sunday, it's not that you have to throw them away. We're not asking people to cut out certain foods.

    "This is about reducing your overall lifetime risk through simple steps."

    There are no official limits on how much acrylamide a food can contain, although the EU has drawn up guidelines.

    The international expert scientific committee known as JEFCA has said acrylamide intake from food is a "human health concern" and levels should be as low as possible.


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    University of Arizona study reveals just how germy our shoes are

    By Briana Collins - Jan 04, 2017

    A new study from the University of Arizona may have many of us re-thinking our house rules. The study shows bacteria lives for days inside and outside our shoes. Researchers say they found more than 421,000 units of bacteria on one shoe. Bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections, meningitis and pneumonia.

    "It could be any combination of what we've walked in...whether that's been animal droppings or what's been on bathroom floors or restaurant floors," says Infection Preventionist Teresa Bastin. "Now you're moving what's outside, inside."

    The study tells us washing the shoes with detergent can clean them up to 99%. Bastin says carpets hold more bacteria than hardwood floors so she suggests we use a steam cleaner, and wash our hands right after taking our shoes off to avoid getting sick.


    Scientific studies reveal high levels of bacteria on shoes

    By Lia Blanchard - August 6, 2017

    Several studies have confirmed that the bottoms of our shoes commonly carry any number of potentially harmful strains of bacteria. A study published in a 2014 issue of Science Direct noted that shoe bottoms were the highest carrier of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) in all of the common household items or environmental dust tested -- 39.7 percent of the shoes tested were positive for the bacteria, which can cause life-threatening intestinal infections. A University of Arizona study found "large numbers" of bacteria on the bottom and inside of shoes, including: Escherichia coli (E. coli), Klebsiella pneumonia, and Serratia ficaria, reports a 2008 article in CIRI Science.

    "Our study also indicated that bacteria can be tracked by shoes over a long distance into your home or personal space after the shoes were contaminated with bacteria," notes Dr. Charles Gerba, the microbiologist who conducted the University of Arizona study. In fact, the study found that the transfer rate from contaminated shoes to previously uncontaminated living spaces was 90 percent to 99 percent.

    The good news: Simply washing the shoes is an effective method of significantly reducing the number of bacteria. The University of Arizona study confirmed that machine-washing shoes with detergent eliminated 99 percent of bacteria from the outside of the shoes, and 90 percent of the bacteria from the inside. ABC News made "Kick off your kicks" its No. 1 method of "detoxing your home," suggesting that leaving your shoes at the door will leave 80 percent of certain environmental pollutants -- such as road sealant and pesticides -- outside.


    Study shows wearing shoes inside your home invites unwanted germs

    by Sonu Wasu - Jun 13, 2017

    As part of the "Healthy Homes" initiative, the City of Phoenix is warning residents about the dangerous germs and fungi you could be tracking into your homes through the soles of your shoes.

    There is a direct correlation between health and housing, according to Laura Smith, the Project Manager of the city's Lead Free and Healthy Homes program.

    "Although we live in a beautiful state in a beautiful city, most people spend about 70% of their time inside their homes," said Smith.

    Studies done by researchers at the University of Arizona and the Environmental Protection Agency showed everything from fecal matter to E-coli, rodent droppings, toxic herbicides, cigarette residue, pollen, and lead dust on the soles of shoes they tested.

    This is all stuff you're potentially bringing inside your home. Smith warned that this could affect the health of young children who often put their hands in their mouth after playing on the floor, as well as it could affect the elderly population.

    Health experts advised keeping your homes cleaner and safer with a no-shoes rule, something practiced by many Asian communities for centuries.

    Reiko Yasui Reavis, the Executive Director of the Japanese Friendship Garden brought the tradition of removing shoes at the doorway, right before entering the home, from Japan to her home in Phoenix.

    "The reason why is in Japan we sit on the floor, we sleep on the floor on the Futon, so we are always close to the floor. It's kind of dirty to bring shoes into the house," said Yasui Reavis.

    Studies showed the floors of your home are actually dirtier than your toilet seat.

    "I don't want those germs in my house, especially when you have little babies," said Yasui Reavis.

    Health experts advise removing your shoes and carrying them into your shoe closet at home, then washing your hands.
    You can also wipe the soles of your shoes with anti-bacterial wipes, or throw tennis shoes in the washing machine to get rid of germs.

    For more information on having cleaner, toxin and germ-free homes visit the city's website HERE.


    This Is Why You Absolutely Need To Stop Wearing Shoes In Your House

    by David Benjamin

    The University of Houston did a study and found that 39% of shoes contained bacteria C. diff (otherwise known as Clostridium difficile), this is a public health threat that is now also resistant to a number of antibiotics. C. diff infections can cause multiple health conditions such as bad diarrhea which can also progress to colon inflammation and further serious health problems, especially if it doesn't respond to antibiotic treatment effectively.

    In another study done by the University of Arizona 9 different forms of bacteria were found on the bottom of shoes. Good Morning America did a test and found that the bottom of shoes were dirtier than toilet seats also. Furthermore, Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona did a test with a brand new pair of shoes and found that within just two weeks of wearing a new shoe 440,000 units of bacteria were found on the shoe. An astonishing 27% of that total bacteria were deadly E Coli. Klebsiella pneumonia was also found, which can lead to and cause pneumonia and wound and bloodstream infections and another type of infection called Serratia ficaria, which can lead to infection of the respiratory tract.

    "Shoes are contaminated from diverse sources, and we are regularly contaminating our doorsteps by shoes," says study author M. Jahangir Alam, Ph.D.

    The Clostridium difficile is only the tip of the iceberg though because only 4 out of 10 people have this on their shoes. There are many different types of bacteria that get into your home from your shoe. For example, most most public restroom floors contain around 2 million bacteria per square inch (interestingly enough the average toilet seat only contains about 50 per square inch). These are two very good reasons to avoid wearing shoes in your home at all. If you have young kid's who crawl around on the floor all day (whether 2 years old or 4 years old) it's even more important to not wear your shoes inside your home. Children 2 and under should NOT be playing on floors that shoes have been walked on. It is best to leave your shoes outside the home if you have a one or two year old child.

    What's interesting is that many countries like I previously mentioned earlier in this article leave their shoes completely outside their home with that door closed so you cannot even see shoes in the home. A great idea is to leave them at the front door or in the garage by the door to avoid bringing any unwanted bacteria or germs in the home. What's worse is that many of us will be barefoot in our homes (especially during the summer time) and to wear your shoes in your home even just once or a few times if you forgot something and are in a rush can potentially bring this dangerous bacteria in your home. Avoid it and do your best to keep the shoes outside for your health and safety.

    Not only do shoes contain bacteria but they also contain germs, chemicals and oil or petroleum by-products
    . The bottom of your shoes are full of plenty of chemicals and pathogens that you do not want to spread all over your home then walk barefoot on later.

    It's uncommon in western countries such as America and Canada for guests to ask to remove your shoes at the door but most cultures around the world ask that you leave your shoes at the door. It will help keep those germs and bacteria out, as well as bacteria C. diff which can be more dangerous. Taking your shoes off at the door is a sign of respect for your home and the home of guests. In many religious traditions shoes are removed for prayer and entering the home. Shoes carry many germs and bacteria and it's best to leave the outside world just outside your door along with your shoes.

    Let's recap, what's on the bottom of your shoes? Fecal matter, multiple forms of bacteria causing fecal matter as well as infections and inflammation of the colon, germs, chemicals, petroleum and so much more! Where are you going to leave your shoes from now on? and maybe you'll rethink that 5-second rule (or 5 BECOMING a 10-second rule) of dropping food on the floor and picking it up to eat it next time.


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    Study Finds India Is Asia's Most Corrupt Country, While Japan Comes In Last

    by Suparna Goswami - Mar 8, 2017

    One of the main objective of the current Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been to make India corruption free. But it seems the country still has a long way to go. A recent survey by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption global civil society organization, states that India has the highest bribery rate among the 16 Asia Pacific countries surveyed. Nearly seven in 10 people who accessed public services in India had paid a bribe. In contrast, Japan has the lowest bribery rate, with 0.2% respondents paying a bribe.

    Approximately 900 million -- or over one in four -- people across 16 countries in Asia Pacific, including some of its biggest economies like India and China, are estimated to have paid a bribe to access public services. For its report titled "People and Corruption: Asia Pacific", TI spoke to nearly 22,000 people in these countries about their recent experiences with corruption.

    Even massive economic players like China aren't that far behind India. The biggest economy in the region has a lot to do in terms of fighting corruption. Nearly three quarters of the people surveyed in the country said corruption has increased over the past three years, suggesting people don’t see much work happening against corruption.

    People in the survey were also asked to rate their government in terms of how it was performing in fighting public sector corruption. More than half the people living in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia felt that their government was doing a good job in fighting corruption. In contrast people in South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia didn’t think highly of their government in its fight against corruption.

    Services people pay for

    Across the region, nearly two in five said that they thought most or all police officers were corrupt. Unsurprisingly, just under a third of people in the region who had come into contact with a police officer in the past 12 months had paid a bribe. While citizens of Pakistan were the most likely of any country to be asked for bribes in law and order institutions (around seven in 10), for India the police bribery rate is 54% and for China a low 12%.

    India had the highest bribery rates of all the countries surveyed for access to public schools (58%) and healthcare (59%), suggesting serious corruption risks when people try to access these basic services. In comparison these numbers for Pakistan and China for public schools are 9% and 29% respectively. In terms of healthcare, the rate for China is 18% and for Pakistan 11%.

    Ilham Mohamed, regional coordinator for Asia at TI feels that people in these regions find it tough to access basic services. “People don’t pay bribes for quicker access to services,” says Mohamed. “The problem is most don’t have access to basic services like healthcare, school or law and order. What the data across Asia Pacific shows is that the poor are disproportionately affected by petty bribery," says Mohamed.

    infograph: https://infogram.com/bribery_rates_a...pacific_region

    Mohamed says low civil service salaries coupled by systems that allows little or no access redress mechanisms are main reasons behind corruption. “In other words people with limited resources are further disempowered by an additional hurdle in accessing public services through having to pay bribes. This cycle continues when redress mechanisms are inaccessible,” she says.


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    ‘Inventing Terrorists’ Study Offers Critical Examination of Government’s Use of Preemptive Prosecutions

    Nearly ninety-five percent of individuals on a Justice Department list of “terrorism and terrorism-related convictions” from 2001-2010 included some elements of preemptive prosecution, according to a study by attorneys which they say is the first to “directly examine and critique preemptive prosecution and its abuses.”

    The study is called “Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution” [PDF]. It was released by Project SALAM, which stands for Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims, and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF), a coalition of groups that “oppose profiling, preemptive prosecution and prisoner abuse.”

    While Mother Jones has already published extensive work on the entrapment and prosecution of “terrorists” since the 9/11 attacks examining the Justice Department’s list, this study is noteworthy because it advances the journalism to outline how the government has perverted the criminal justice system through practices that have become popular especially against Muslims.

    Stephen Downs and Kathy Manley, authors of the study, were defense attorneys for Yassin Aref, an imam of a mosque in Albany, New York, who was targeted for his “ideology.” The government deployed an agent provocateur, Shahed Hussain, to entrap the inman by accepting a “loan” that Hussain claimed consisted of funds from the sale of a missile to terrorists. So the authors produced the study with the experience of having defended someone who was a victim of this kind of prosecution.
    The concept of preemptive prosecution is defined as “a law enforcement strategy, adopted after 9/11, to target and prosecute individuals or organizations whose beliefs, ideology, or religious affiliations raise security concerns for the government.” (However, the authors do acknowledge that the practices bear resemblance to tactics used by the FBI as part of COINTELPRO.)

    Criminal charges are pretext. For example, someone charged with “material support for terrorism” may be charged with that to criminalize “free speech, free association, charity, peace-making and social hospitality.” Someone may be charged with “conspiracy” for having friendships or simply being part of an organization the government doesn’t like.

    Agents provocateurs may be sent in to entrap a target into participating in a plot manufactured and controlled by the government every step of the way. The government may also choose to use “minor ‘technical’ crimes,” such as errors on immigration forms, an alleged false statement to a government official, gun possession, tax or financial issues, etc., to go after someone for their “ideology.”

    The study broke down each case into three separate categories: preemptive prosecution; “elements of preemptive prosecution,” meaning the defendants’ may have committed non-terrorism-related crimes that the government “inflated” into a terrorism charge; and terrorism-related charges that were legitimate and not the result of preemptive prosecution.

    The Justice Department’s list only contained 399 cases. The study concluded “the number of preemptive prosecution cases is 289 out of 399, or 72.4%. The number of elements of preemptive prosecution cases is 87 out of 399, or 21.8%.”

    “Combining preemptive prosecution cases and elements of preemptive prosecution cases, the total number of such cases on the DOJ list is 376, or 94.2%,” according to the study.

    Nearly twenty-five percent of the cases contained material support charges. Nearly thirty percent were cases with conspiracy charges. Over seventeen percent of cases involved sting operations. More than sixteen percent of cases included false statement or perjury charges, and around six percent of cases involved immigration-related charges.

    The study also concluded that there were only eleven cases where threats had been “potentially significant” to the United States. “Only three were successful (the Tsarnaev brothers and Major Nidal Hasan), accounting for seventeen deaths and several hundred injuries.”

    Out of hundreds of cases, the authors were only able to come up with twenty-three individuals, who they believed ever posed a threat and were not preemptively prosecuted. But, as is noted in the study, nine of these people were inexplicably listed even though they committed non-terrorism related crimes.

    Thus, the study clearly demonstrates how resources for fighting terrorism have mostly been used to target individuals, who are suspicious and easier to prosecute because they practice a certain religion or have an “ideology” the general public will resent. And, if most of these people were not people of color with Arabic-sounding names that could be used to promote a fear of foreigners in the criminal justice process, their crimes would be given the same light treatment other members of the general public typically receive.

    Through preemptive prosecution, the government can discourage Muslim Americans from supporting charities abroad, even when those charities have no nexus at all with groups committing violence. For example, Dr. Rafil Dhafir, an oncologist who was born in Iraq and later became a US citizen, founded the Help the Needy Charity in 1990 and for thirteen years fought to raise money for Iraqis most impacted by the Gulf War and UN sanctions. He donated $1.4 million “of his own money,” according to the US government. He was particularly concerned about the effects of depleted uranium on Iraqis. But his charity was criminalized, and he was arrested just weeks before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Preemptive prosecution may lead to a “terrorism enhancement” being applied during sentencing, which opens one up to being placed in a Communications Management Unit (CMU), as the government did to Aref. CMUs are solitary confinement units and involve a set of highly restrictive detention conditions that limit contact with family and the outside world.

    There are also several prosecutions where the government criminalizes the advocacy of what the study calls “non-specific violence.” While it may seem controversial, this speech is protected under the Constitution.

    “Free speech includes the right to use violent and hate speech, and it is not charged as a crime when right-wing terrorists or domestic hate groups engage in it. Charging only Muslims or other targeted groups is discriminatory and preemptive,” the study contends. (The case of Tarek Mehanna is one clear example.)

    “Simply being a member of a group, or being associated with certain individuals, should not be a crime unless there is evidence of specific intent to become involved in a given criminal action or conspiracy,” the study argues. However, the study adds, “A number of material support and conspiracy cases included individuals who were friends of others who were charged, and this association was the main evidence against them, with little or no additional evidence.” (For example, the case of the Fort Dix Five.)

    Additionally, the study takes the even more bold position of defending those who go to “foreign lands” to defend Muslim communities and prevent them from attack.
    …All prosecutions of defendants who expressed a desire to go to a training camp, or who unsuccessfully tried to find one, or who attended one and failed to act on the training, are considered preemptive prosecutions unless the circumstances indicated that the defendant actually intended to engage in violence against civilians or the United States. Many defendants were drawn to attend training camps out of a desire to defend Muslim communities in Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya, Sudan, or other countries where there was/is conflict. However, cases in which the defendants actually intended to commit acts of violence against American soldiers or against civilians are not included as preemptive prosecutions…
    While the study does not draw any conclusions, hypotheses are put forward on why there are so many more preemptive prosecutions of Muslims for terrorism or terrorism-related offenses.

    The first hypothesis is that the FBI truly believed there was a domestic network of “ideological” Muslims to dismantle. Another hypothesis is that preemptive prosecutions are designed to scare Muslims from criticizing US foreign policy abroad. And yet another is that this is how the government must go about prosecuting these individuals because, if they did it any other way, they would be running up against constitutional prohibitions.

    In other words, preemptive prosecutions represent the government’s best efforts to take advantage of all the loopholes in the criminal justice system and neutralize the ability of those prosecuted to put on a defense so the law can be used by prosecutors to control a population.


  8. #48
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    Study: Girl Only Schools Good for Girls

    Boys DO make girls body conscious: Young women in mixed sex schools 'feel more pressure to be thin and have lower self esteem'

    By Madlen Davies - 30 March 2016

    Girls at mixed-sex schools feel more under pressure to be thin than those at all-girls' schools, a study has found.

    They were also more likely to feel pressure to be thin and have lower self-esteem, it was revealed.

    The presence of boys may make girls worry more about how they look
    , researchers said.

    On the other hand, an all-female environment may protect young women from negative messages about body image, they added.

    The team, from the University of Bristol, wanted to investigate the factors that contribute to a young woman's confidence.

    Society 'continues to advocate an unrealistically thin body shape' and girls being aware of this pressure - and acting on it - is 'increasingly concerning', they said.

    They wanted to find out if the type of school a young woman attends affects her self-esteem - something they said was 'largely unexplored' before their study.

    As part of their research, they recruited 212 British girls with an average age of 13.8 attending either a single-sex or co-educational (mixed sex) school in West Sussex, south east England.

    The schools were broadly similar in socioeconomic terms, and school uniform was compulsory at both.

    The girls were given questionnaires which asked them for their height and weight, and their Body Mass Index was calculated from the results.

    The questionnaires also asked about their attitudes to appearance and weight; whether they were currently trying to lose weight, and, if so, by what method.

    They were also quizzed about their self-esteem and their social support network.

    Despite the majority - 79 per cent - of the girls having a normal BMI, researchers found 46 per cent were trying to lose weight.

    Some 23 per cent were doing this through dieting; 41 per cent by exercising and 1 per cent by smoking.

    While there were few differences between the two schools, women in the same-sex one were more likely to take pressures to be thin to heart.

    The presence of boys may cause women to care more about how they look - lowering their confidence, researchers said.

    Writing in the report, lead author Victoria Cribb, of the University of Bristol, said: 'Internalising the thin ideal portrayed by the media has a stronger link with self-esteem in girls attending a co-educational school.

    'Greater internalisation is linked to lower self-esteem in girls in mixed gender environments.'

    The study supports the argument that the presence of boys inflates girls worries about their looks, lowering self-esteem, she added.

    Meanwhile, in same sex schools, women may be protected from taking cultural attitudes about women being thin to heart - meaning it doesn't affect their confidence as much.

    The study was published in the Journal of Adolescence.



    They turn against Islam for promoting gender-separation yet themselves learn through pain/suffering that is the only correct solution.

  9. #49
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    Study : Air Pollution Leads to Weaker Sperm

    Men who have trouble conceiving may have the air they breathe to blame, a new study by Chinese researchers suggests.

    Microscopic particles in the air called particulate matter (PM2.5) may affect the quality of sperm, which in turn can make it difficult to fertilize a woman's egg, the researchers said.

    PM2.5 stands for particulate matter with a diameter 2.5 micrometers or less. That's about 3 percent of the diameter of a human hair.

    "Air pollution is associated with a significant drop in normal sperm shape and size, which may result in a significant number of couples with infertility," said lead researcher Xiang Qian Lao. He is an assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Primary Care at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Lao cautioned, however, that this study can't prove that PM2.5 causes the damage to sperm, only that the two are associated.

    "You cannot conclude it is a causal relationship in this study, but existing evidence from toxicology and other studies support that the relationship is potentially causal," he said.

    Exactly how air pollution might affect sperm isn't clear, Lao said. Many components of fine particulate matter, such as heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, have been linked to sperm damage in experimental studies, he said.

    The effect of air pollution on sperm is small, Lao said, but because pollution is so widespread around the globe, many men could be affected.

    And, because reducing air pollution may improve the quality of sperm, "we call for global strategies to reduce air pollution for improvement of reproductive health," Lao said.

    Abnormal sperm results in infertility because the sperm can't penetrate the egg, explained Dr. Tomer Singer, director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

    "We have seen a trend in the last several decades where the concentration of the sperm, the motility and the shape of the sperm have been deteriorating," Singer said. "It's been difficult to pinpoint what has been the culprit."

    This study provides strong evidence to support an association between air pollution exposure and abnormal semen, said Dr. Manish Vira, vice chair of urologic research at Northwell Health's Arthur Smith Institute for Urology in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

    However, reports from the United States have not found similar results, suggesting that the negative impact may be seen only in areas with extremely poor air quality, he said.

    Vira called air pollution a global health emergency and said this new study suggests that impaired fertility may be among the health consequences.

    "The next step is to correlate air pollution levels with pregnancy rates to determine if the changes seen in semen translate to impaired fertility," Vira said.

    For the study, Lao and his colleagues collected data on nearly 6,500 Taiwanese men 15 to 49 years old. All of the men had taken part in a medical examination program between 2001 and 2014. The program included assessing the quality of their sperm, including the total number, shape, size and movement (motility).

    Exposure to PM2.5 levels was estimated from the home addresses of each man for three-month periods over two years. It takes three months for sperm to be generated, Lao said.

    The researchers found an association between exposure to PM2.5 and abnormal sperm. Specifically, every 5 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air over two years was associated with a nearly 1.3 percent drop in normal sperm shape and size.

    It was also associated with a 26 percent increased risk of being in the bottom 10 percent of normal sperm size and shape, after accounting for other possible influences on sperm quality, such as smoking, drinking, age and weight.

    Exposure to PM2.5, however, was also associated with a significant increase in the number of sperm. The researchers said this may be a way the body attempts to overcome the poorer quality of sperm overall.

    Similar findings were seen after three months of exposure to PM2.5, the study found.


  10. #50
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    Study: Red Onion, The Healthiest Type of Onion

    by Sara Faye Green - October 25, 2017

    Turns out, there's one variety of onions that's better for you than the others. A 2017 study published in Food Research International found that red onions were most effective at killing human cancer cells compared with other onions thanks to their higher levels of the antioxidants quercetin and anthocyanin.

    "Anthocyanin is instrumental in providing color to fruits and vegetables, so it makes sense that the red onions, which are darkest in color, would have the most cancer-fighting power," says study author Suresh Neethirajan, Ph.D.

    However, red onions aren't the only ones with these benefits. "All onions are potent cancer fighters thanks to their high concentrations of the antioxidants anthocyanin and quercetin," says Karen Ansel R.D.N., author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-aging: Stay Younger, Live Longer. Red onions just happen to be even better at fighting cancer thanks to their high amounts of anthocyanin, which increase the effectiveness of quercetin in attacking cancer-causing free radicals, she adds.

    Luckily, red onions swap in easily in place of white. Try substituting the colorful variety anytime your usual recipes call for white or yellow onions for an extra boost of powerful antioxidants (and flavor).


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    Study: Twitter abuse - '50% of misogynistic tweets from women'

    Half of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.

    Over a three-week period, think tank counted the number of uses of two particular words as indicators of misogyny.

    It found evidence of large-scale misogyny, with 6,500 unique users targeted by 10,000 abusive tweets in the UK alone.

    Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has said that tackling abuse is a priority.

    The research comes as UK MPs - Yvette Cooper, Maria Miller, Stella Creasy, Jess Philips - alongside former Liberal Democrat minister Jo Swinson, launch their Reclaim the Internet campaign, in response to growing public concern about the impact of hate speech and abuse on social media.

    he campaign has opened an online forum to discuss ways to make the internet less aggressive, sexist, racist and homophobic.

    Launching the campaign, Ms Cooper told the BBC: "The truth is nobody knows what the best answers are. There is more when there is criminal abuse, for example rape threats, that the police should be doing but what is the responsibility of everyone else? What more should social media platforms be doing?"

    She said that the campaign was an opportunity for the public to "put forward their proposals and demands for the changes we want to see".

    In response to the survey, Twitter's head of trust and safety Kira O'Connor told the BBC: "Hateful conduct has no place on the Twitter platform and is a violation of our terms of service.

    "In addition to our policies and user controls, such as block, mute and our new multiple tweet reporting functionality, we work with civil society leaders and academic experts to understand the challenge that exists."

    The Demos study also looked at international tweets and found more than 200,000 aggressive tweets using the words, "slut" and "whore", were sent to 80,000 people over the same three weeks.

    The commonsense approach to posting comments on social networks would be to never say anything online that you wouldn't say to someone's face but that simple rule seems to be regularly ignored.

    Being able to post anonymously helps and, in many ways, social networks have become the modern day equivalent of a natter over the garden fence or a gathering on the village green - but on a global scale.

    And just as in the old gossip circles of old, there will be people whose comments are meaner or more aggressive than the rest, so that is amplified online. And now the voices of the trolls can be heard and they can pick victims - generally people they don't know - pretty much at random.

    Abuse on social networks is not new and neither is the revelation that women contribute to the problem.

    A 2014 study from cosmetics firm Dove found that over five million negative tweets were posted about beauty and body image. Four out of five were sent by women.

    The bigger question is what can be done about it?

    We have seen in recent years the police take the issue much more seriously and trolls have faced lengthy prison sentences. Some have made public apologies to their victims.

    Education will be key. Teaching youngsters who haven't yet joined social media platforms that politeness is not a dying art and that if you say hurtful things online, they could genuinely cause distress, may give the next generation pause for thought before they start typing.

    Stark reminder

    Demos used algorithms to distinguish between tweets being used in explicitly aggressive ways and those that were more conversational in tone.

    Researcher Alex Krasodomski-Jones said: "This study provides a birds-eye snapshot of what is ultimately a very personal and often traumatic experience for women.

    "While we have focused on Twitter, who are considerably more generous in sharing their data with researchers like us, it's important to note that misogyny is prevalent across all social media, and we must make sure that the other big tech companies are also involved in discussions around education and developing solutions."

    She added that it was not about "policing the internet" but was more "a stark reminder that we are frequently not as good citizens online as we are offline".

    Thousands have responded to the hashtag #ReclaimtheInternet, with many congratulating the female MPs for starting the campaign.

    Others though questioned how effective the campaign would be, with some questioning whether it would damage free speech.



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